Secundino Hernández

Born 1975 in Madrid, Spain. Lives and works in Madrid, Spain



Born 1975 in Madrid, Spain

Lives and works in Madrid, Spain

Secundino Hernández started his international gallery-début with his eponymous exhibitions following a Residency at Krinzinger Projekte in 2007. Just five years later, he made his breakthrough in the international art scene by selling six works to the Rubell Family Collection at a presentation at ARCO Madrid 2012. Today, Secundino Hernández, with his large-format paintings, is one of the international artists who shape the contemporary art market. His frenetic oil, gouache, and acrylic paintings refer to action painting, the old masters, especially Spanish ancestors like El Greco and Velázquez, but also to the paintings by Cy Twombly, Francis Picabia, and Joan Miró. A broad spectrum of his abstract painting can be described as opulent, colorful, and expressionist, but also monochrome and ascetically minimalist. 

Secundino Hernández showed for the first time at Galerie Krinzinger in 2007, when he was invited to take part in the Artist in Residence program in Vienna and presented his paintings in the spaces of Krinzinger Projekte. Unlike his more recent abstract work, his paintings at that time were strongly figurative, but not in the classical sense of portraits or realistic representations of people. They were rather figurative abbreviations of hands, feet, and heads that grew out of the informal painterly surface. Grotesque anomalies emerged, a pastiche of Surrealist écriture automatique, caricatured cadavre exquis. Around 2010, this hybrid figurative-abstract system began to give way to a more abstract, calligraphically gestural circulating and floating over the picture surface. Here drawing and painting merged: graphic shorthand, scrawls with splotches of paint, brushstrokes. Together they produced an exuberant, dynamic floating in the pictorial space. In some instances, one can still find lingering figurative rudiments, cartoon-like remnants. Glistening traces of black, looking as if they were drawn with a felt-tip pen, sitting literally on the surface of the picture, while the finely drawn lines, daubs of paint, and brushstrokes burst into the surrounding space. This accumulation of innumerable traces and complexes of form resembles a cosmic explosion in galactic space. The painting is freed from the force of gravity, no longer bound to the horizon of any landscape. Yet there is an exception—a larger series of works from 2012–13 in which the artist still integrated strictly horizontal strips of color, lending the paintings a landscape-like dimension. One of these cosmic-dynamic compositions of pictorial space was presented in the 2017 exhibition Abstract Painting Now! at the Kunsthalle Krems, which presented an overview of the current state of nonrepresentational art internationally. The broad spectrum shown reflected positions from the minimalist, constructive, and ornamental to the gestural and processual. The exhibition spanned from the 1970s, beginning with Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, to the generation of Katharina Grosse and Secundino Hernández. It was the year before that I first saw a painting by the Spanish artist. At Vienna Contemporary 2016, Galerie Krinzinger showed an opaque-gray painting with traces of Art Informel. I then immersed myself in Hernández’s universe of painting, which is best described as a dazzling kaleidoscope of abstract art: graphic-painterly, impasto-minimal, spatial-planar, light-dark, skin and bones, destruction and construction, chance and control, emotional sensual, and cool minimalist. (Text: Florian Steininger, Director, Kunsthalle Krems) 

Secundino Hernández studied at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In the last years, his works have been exhibited in numerous museums and art institutions, such as the Meadows Museum at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Taidehalli Helsinki, CAC – Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, YUZ Museum, Shanghai, The Miettinen Collection, Maison Louis Carré, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, and others. Secundino Hernández’s works are part of important institutional and private collections for instance at the Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid, in the Helga de Alvear-Foundation, the Rubell Family Collection, Miami in the Kunstdepot Göschenen and the Art Gallery of Ontario; Selection of awards: Generación 2007 de Caja Madrid (first prize); Generación 2004 de Caja Madrid; Premio Joven 2003, Fundación General der Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Generación 2002 de Caja, Madrid (recognition award).